Orange’s Winter Fire Festival is set to return bigger and better next year after the inaugural event over the weekend was declared a success.
Orange360 general manager Caddie Marshall said hundreds of people from Sydney and the region attended events ranging from stargazing to markets and wassailing over three days.
She said about eight bonfires were lit at wineries and on properties on Saturday night as people tasted wine and food.
“My understanding was most events had sold out. Definitely we will be doing it again,” she said.
“I see this will be an event that will continue to grow like our other signature events.”
Ms Marshall said the event kicked off with markets in Millthorpe’s Pym Street on Friday night and attracted about 2000 people.
She said the spirits of the stallholders and festivalgoers were not dampened by the rain.
The clear skies on Saturday night made stargazing popular at several events.
Morris dancers and attendees joined in the ancient tradition of wassailing, blessing the fruit of the upcoming harvest, by banging pots and pans and singing around a major bonfire next to the Canobolas Dance Hall.
VIDEO: Wassailing by the bonfire
Even a power blackout did not detract from the event.
Ms Marshall said many of the bonfires could be seen from several spots including Boree Road and Lydster Hill.
Dindima Wines held a stargazing evening that was sold out with about 100 people not being able to get tickets due to the heavy demand.
Winery co-owner Lee Bell said it was regrettable but hoped there would be more events next year to fit all the interest in the festival.
“We had a fabulous night, people were so enthusiastic about having the combination of European and Wiradjuri astronomy and culture,” she said.
Ms Bell said many people brought their own telescopes and enjoyed the clear skies for viewing.
“It was great, because it had rained it was so clear, the sky was so beautiful. The planets were so sparkling clear.”
Ms Bell said they were keen to do more stargazing events and run their Winter Fire Festival event next year.
She said they had a range of soups and breads.
“We kept it really simple,” she said.